Libya: sand and storm

by Lakunle Jaiyesimi

Waking up in a world yellowed by sand and storm and strewn with strange palm trees, physically dwarfed by the scorching Sun and a lack of water, I was faced with total darkness. A blinding awareness!

Waking up, I found myself alone! Alone with no live bodies moving around; just lifeless human and animal parts littered everywhere.

Did I journey here on personal volition or was I left after a handful of inhaled tear-gas? This is LIBYA! I can’t even remember how and when….

I must have been left behind by those, who couldn’t stand the storm and the sand, the unending tear-gas, the gunshots trailing the stones-throw and the falling heaps of bodies of the young and the old.

I must have been one of the bodies that fell to fear; the fear of war and not the war itself. And here, I must have got up being the last to be roused from fainting after all had gone; left in the midst of sand and storm for death; left beside a dwarfed palm tree facing a dry hut – deserted, with no meal or fluid.

Again, the thought came back…though, twisted…
Was I left to die by a dilapidated, complex, international, political crisis? I answered, YES!
Did I journey here on my own accord? I answered, YES yet again! And that was from my shamefully retrogrssing country to the then prosperous nation of Libya. At least, so I thought! Alas, here I was!

I have heard of Libya and her several points of progress; at least, coming here would extract me from the bottomless nation full of thorns, slippery fluid, snakes, dogs and witches.

Alas, there was no difference! The apparent decadence I plunged myself in has only developed into a state worse than squalor – it was a war-poverty. A state where we would have to beg for international donations to help out with camp management, food, nutrition, healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene. That sounds like a refugee camp. A palace-turned-ghetto was where I found myself alone, left for death.

A war just broke out, trailing minor protests; and gun-toting boys, asking the leader to step down, took opposing sides, defending their interests. Two interests were at stake: For the Rebels and for the Incumbent. But the sand and storm would give no chance to see and to breathe…and to think.

The sand and storm would again give no chance to breathe…to see and to think about the fast-changing roles of children, women and the younger population, who toted guns and wielded blood-stained machettes without restrictions. They have become the victims of a victimised nation. The school pupils were shoved to the streets by their teachers and in turn, the teachers were shot and stabbed by their pupils. The streets became a bloody academy of criminals; more heads fell than stood from the ground. Banks closed, markets sealed, vehicles grounded, no one sold fuel and hunger meant nothing to those nursing wounds, to those hiding from being killed or those unable to bury their dead loved ones.

Everyone sought a route to escape the torments to run out through the borders and be once again free; that’s if the uprising wasn’t waiting on the other side. It was fast-becoming the order of the day, even on to suspicion, that the masses of every country protested, demanding that their long-serving leaders stepped down.

MAY WE HOPE THAT THE WORLD HASN’T BEEN BOXED INTO A CORNER. But that will be just hope that may never be realised. Goats died…and more human died! The leaders on the two sides remained adamant.

The world outside of here seemed to be breathing down on us. The rockets crackled! Never seen-before machines touched down on Libyan soil. The borders were manned by blood-hungry loyalists of their aged and tired fathers. And fear killed the people even before they tasted the heat and bitterness of bullets.

The sand and storm, choking as they may be, would give no chance to regret. I shouldn’t have been her. I came for the wealth, the wine and the women; and now, after years of struggle, it boiled down to No-fly zone, Time to go, an Aeon of madness, run to Tunisia and the return to Bangladesh!

If I must die, I won’t die alone; I die with many children and their mothers, pregnant with babies who never yet had a voice. I die with the aspirations to solve the problems of the world. I die with the songs passed down by generations gone, never again to be sung by generations to come. I die again and again with the hope, the faith and with the trust of all that stood and still standing.

And while we die, the leaders of the world – individualised and in coalition – leveraging on our situation, bargained our future for their wealth, safety and freedom; oil, power and global domination.

While we die, they use largesse!

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